A Hello and a tale of woe from Upstate NY

Discussion in 'Roll Call' started by dan of the highlands, Oct 4, 2008.

  1. Hello All,

    My name is Dan and I have a tale of woe. I know that my tale will not surprise most of you. Coming here and reading up on your experiences... well I feel like I have found a good place where I can share.

    I grew up in a big family of 8. Burned weenies and burgers were the height of my summers. We were ignorant. It was a simple life. Wood was our fuel and we sneared at charcoal and lighter fluid. We had 25 acres, plenty of hands and a license to burn. We were the disfunctional scout troop from haydes - heathens.

    It was the 70's and we flamed everything at least once. Ribs and chicken were an enigma - they became fodder for the oven. We could not contend with the burned, tough and half raw results (I know, I know...don't pitty me, please). What else can you make over a flame? Boiling down maple sap into syrup was not much better. Maintaining a boiling pot all day long provided a mear pittance of syrup. Those were the dark days, but as they say, ignorance was bliss.

    Years later I'm in the Army. No wood pile - no small bonfires - danged rules and regulations. In desperation I bought a Weber Smokey Joe, abided in charcoal with lighter fluid and consigned myself to suburban means of charring my dinner. I felt cheapened. I was becoming a griller.

    I was far from home and far from my roots. I started to secretly eye gas grills with envy. Only my rancorous lifestyle kept me from having the cash to buy one. Instead I moved up to the 18 inch kettle.

    The world turns - a wife and 2 sons become my grilling test subjects. I ended up a divorcee raising 2 wirey boys, but I'm not blaming Weber. I'm not bitter.

    Years go by. I have a wife again. Boys 1 & 2 are grown, wirey and rancorous. I acquire another son, now 6, so I can try again. Time to consider a new Weber.

    While reading up, I learn of indirect grilling on the Weber. The idea seems foreign. It can't get my head around it because I KNOW that barbecuing means meat charred by fire. I vaguely remember the ex-wife tossing out some never-used charcoal rails and a drip pan that were cluttering up the place. 20 years ago they came with my 18" weber grill. OMG, what have I done. I order new rails.

    I read something about cooking by temperature too. Meat thermometers? Who uses them? The test kitchens of Betty Crocker, the USDA and my mother when she does turkey. Not me. I cook on site and guesswork. Do the best chefs ever measure? No, they eyeball it. Am I not one of the best?

    I think of my wirey rancorous sons and ask God for forgiveness for what I have wrought upon the world.

    Chicken parts come out deliciously roasted the first time I try the indirect method. I must have more. The following weekend I set up the Weber 18 for indirect and throw on a rack of ribs. At this point I need to make a store run, but wife#2 is leary about being left with the hot grill 'cause she don't grill. I assure her to just leave it alone and it will be fine - the indirect method is just like using an oven.

    When I returned it was clear that I needed slightly more grilling space than the Weber 18 had. Is there any useful craft one can make from a dozen bones held together by solid char? Martha Stewart?

    Many years ago I had seen a story in Popular Mechanics on how to build your own off-set smoker. Only now did I understand. How many years had I ignored the messages that the greater powers had been sending me? All the tears and the years wasted.

    The PX was selling the Char-broil American Gourmet. I buy it. I use it. And I discover that "everything in moderation" includes smoke. Who'd a thought that the chunks of mystery wood providing hours of glorious white smoke to a well sauced slab of baby backs was not the right thing to do.

    No, friends, I am not deterred. Thankfully, I have since created some delicious ribs thanks to a little more knowledge. Wife #2 is still with me and son #3 seems to be putting on normal weight.

    The American Gourmet needs some mods and I have never welded before. Please pray for me and my family as I begin my next set of adventures.

    Dan of the Highlands
  2. dingle

    dingle Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    Dan, that was a heck of a story! If only the SMF was around when we all started out "cooking". Welcome to the SMF from central NY and please hold on and enjoy the ride!
  3. jond

    jond Smoke Blower SMF Premier Member

    Welcome to SMF Dan, check out the 5 day course. Lots of reading on here and posting and you will soon be putting out amazing Q :)

  4. richoso1

    richoso1 Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    It's never too late to enjoy some things in life, I'm sure you'll be happy with the SMF and the friendly folks who enjoy sharing good times. smokes, and Q too.
  5. coyote

    coyote Master of the Pit

    welcome to de club..learn, share and invite us all over when ya have it down pat..lol.
  6. wutang

    wutang Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    Welcome to SMF. Better late than never.
  7. 1894

    1894 Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    Best roll call post I recall reading [​IMG]

    I wouldn't worry about welding , read through the charcoal smoker mods and adjust as you see necessary for your off set.

    Welcome to SMF from another upstater [​IMG]
  8. gnubee

    gnubee Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Welcome to the SMF
  9. travcoman45

    travcoman45 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Kinda sounds like yall er hooked, ain't much we can do sept hep ya dig a deeper hole! An ta thin it only took yall one wife an two kids ta get here! That ain't a bad average! Some folks have killed off entire neighborhoods fer seein the light!

    Well, welcome aboard, glad ta have yall!
  10. bassman

    bassman Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Welcome to SMF. There's enough information here to make you a professional smokemaster.
  11. crockadale

    crockadale Smoking Fanatic

    welcome aboard ,we can fix that addicition, well maybe make it worse.
  12. bmudd14474

    bmudd14474 Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Welcome to SMF. With the Q you will produce with the knowledge on here I am sure everyone will stick around for good.
  13. kratzx4

    kratzx4 Smoking Fanatic

    Welcome to the SMF. Glad you joined us
  14. pops6927

    pops6927 Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Thank you for joining our SMF family!
  15. Travcoman45 that was dry humor. I love it. That's the kind of humor I learned to love from some of the crusty old sergeants I met during my time in the army. [​IMG]

    Thanks everyone. I'll be digging in with questions and pictures. I got a lot of ideas already from this place and I know there's no shame in sharing the things that went wrong (it just adds to the fun) as well as the successes.
    It's pork ribs today. We'll give 'em a look a we bit later...[​IMG]
  16. kookie

    kookie Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Welcome to the smf............
  17. One of the fun things about this forum is that you have an eager audience all through the day's smoke.
    So start taking and posting the q-view and if you hit a snag part way through a smoke there's ALWAYS someone around the forum to put you right :)

    You're no longer a sad man stood alone in a yard staring at a smoking oil drum for 12 hours. You're now part of a worldwide audience participation cookery show :)
    Enjoy ;-)

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